Fresh from the success of Thackeray (2019), senior Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut now plans to make a biopic on veteran trade union leader and politician George Fernandes who passed away in New Delhi on Tuesday (29 January).
Despite their strong ideological differences, the Sena founder-patriarch Bal Thackeray and Fernandes enjoyed a great personal rapport, especially since the latter spoke fluent Marathi, among 10 languages he had mastered.
In fact, in the Thackeray film, a scene is depicted where Fernandes, played by Prakash Belawadi, visits Sena supremo Thackeray, essayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in a Pune jail.
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“Now I will make a biographical film on George Fernandes. It would focus mostly on the period from the mid-1950s in Mumbai to the Emergency, and the crucial role he played in coalition-era politics,” Raut told mediapersons on Tuesday.
Besides Thackeray, Fernandes had inspired the characters of a union leader D’Costa in Arun Sadhu’s noted Marathi novel, Mumbai Dinank, and in the film Sinhasan (1979) directed by Jabbar Patel.
Besides their close personal rapport, Fernandes, Thackeray and former prime minister the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared another passion — to convert the country’s first aircraft carrier, Vikrant (formerly, INS Vikrant), into a permanent floating maritime museum for future generations.
The now-deceased trio had made frantic efforts during the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in this direction, with Thackeray pushing Vajpayee-Fernandes to take up the project.
However, it could not be executed due to various constraints, mainly financial, and finally the magnificent warship was sold as scrap and broken down to metal pieces in 2014, for recycling purposes.
The sole living memory is a small memorial sculpture created from its metal pieces sourced from a ship-breaking yard in central Mumbai, which was designed by sculptor Arzan Khambatta, and erected at a traffic island near the Naval Dockyard in south Mumbai in January 2016.